Gay Hollywood

Gore Vidal


My third meeting with Gore Vidal.

Two years ago I was introduced to him by Dennis and Elizabeth Kucinich when Dennis Kucinich was running for President.

The second time I met Vidal it was with Stephen Fry when Stephen was here in LA writing his book.

On both occasions I had to share him with many others.

On this occasion Charlie Parsons and I had him all to ourselves.

Gore looks very frail.  He looks like a child.  Sitting in his wheelchair, his clothes hanging off his slight frame.  His eyes still blaze, his smile..when he smiles…lighting up his whole face.   He looks ever so slightly like Monty Burns.  He remains mesmerizing.

He is still king of the brilliant bon mot.

Charlie  arrived from London and checked into his hotel.

My good buddy is here in LA so we get to spend a great deal of time together.  He is such fun and very gently mocks how seriously I take myself.

We sat with Gore at his dining room table in his beautiful Spanish revival house (for sale) in the Hollywood Hills riveted to his take on contemporary America.

Sitting with his assistant and his realtor Delphine.  He offered us white wine but we opted (obviously) for water.

Gore recently sold his home in Italy so the house is crammed not only with thousands of books piled in every room but also an extraordinary collection of renaissance art.

A ginger cat with huge eyes lay on his bed.

We sat in the dining room chatting, covering a great deal of ground in a very short amount of time.

We discussed his dancing carp, we discussed the errant Charlie Sheen who he had once played a corrupt senator opposite in The Shadow Conspiracy.

He laughed at how he was always asked to play corrupt senators.

We discuss Sarah Palin .  He impersonates Palin brilliantly reducing us to fits of giggles.  He described her as ‘un-American’, he laments her lack of intelligence.

We discuss pre-war Germany and how the catastrophic economic situation here perfectly mirrors the situation there; creating a moment in time when a person like Palin can grab the attention of the people and make them feel as if she alone can provide simple answers for difficult problems.

Like any snobby intellectual he scorns the stupid whenever he can.   He laments how Obama has been stopped by the vicious right from achieving anything esteemable.

Yet, Obama’s people were also described as ‘stupid’.

Next week he will be with Gorbachev.  He holds Gorbachev in very high regard.

Not only is Gore Vidal a remarkable man, he is a remarkable gay man.  Inspiring me to understand the old, old gay man in my film and who he might be.

Such a wonderful history.  Belligerent, surly, glamorous.

During one of the TV debates at the 1968 Democrat Convention erudite William F. Buckley, Jr. called Gore a “goddamn queer” and threatened to beat him up.

When we left the house we sat quietly in the car making sense of this extraordinary moment.

Gore Vidal, embittered by this contemporary America.  He is saddened that corruption is rife.

Like anyone with a big brain he wants to understand how this could have happened to such a great country.

He mentioned my pet American peeve, that Americans boast continually that they are the very best at everything in all the world.

That they have the best police, firemen, soldiers, scientists, schools, healthcare, healthcare delivery… the list is as long as you want to make it.

Yet, elsewhere people live longer, are better educated, live safely etc.  Gore mocked American grandiosity.

He said, “I don’t know many Swedish boys who are desperate to become American, look at the people who do…”

At one point Vidal started talking about the end of slavery, how the blacks were deliberately uneducated by the whites and if they showed any desire for an education, for reading and writing, he said that they were “Taken out and shot.”

I remember a Chris Rock skit when he imagines what that must have felt like, to disguise ones intelligence for fear of ones life.

Now we are all slaves with no real need to be educated.

Do American white folk still resent an educated black man?  Is that what he was trying to say?  Was this why, when he was elected, people here kept on telling me that Obama would be assassinated?

I drove home listening to NPR but I couldn’t listen to anything other than the conversation we had just had with this frail old man.

When he dies something of old America, good America will die with him.

Chris Rock


God Children

My darling God Children give me so much pleasure.  Here is a glimpse of them.   They have moved to Lake Malibu which is  just PERFECT.

Loads going on in SoCal…but just H’wood shit.   On HLN again tonight with my valued opinions about Charlie Sheen.   SAG awards…blah blah.  Aleksa won with her Boardwalk Empire colleagues.  She texted me after…so excited.  I am so proud of her.

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Had to take a couple of days away from my blog.  Firstly, my reason for writing it has become skewed. Secondly, when all one has to write about is the blog itself… hmmm. You understand.

Malibu.  The garden has been totally cleaned up by the new gardeners.  This annual sweep gives me so much pleasure.  The most rewarding $800 a man could ever spend.

Exciting news:  friends are seriously thinking about buying the house.  When they contacted me I was relieved then I began to wonder why I was selling it? Where else in the world would I be able to live like this?  The view, the land, the house… it’s all so beautiful.

The repaired road will make it so much better living here (I can walk to the local shops) but rather than thinking it would make it better for me… my fucked up head thinks it would make it better for someone else.  That’s insane!  I deserve it too.

I had to get away from the blog because I was indeed writing about Jake far too much and whilst I needed to I also have to stop.  This is the problem with obsessive thinking and who ever wrote I should get off the Jake thang is right… I really have to start thinking beyond the object of my obsession.

Just when you run out of good ideas God throws you a life line.  My friend Anna is moving into the house with me.  She is having a blast with her new film (traveling all over the world) but needs a place to live. We are very similar in as much as we both daily invent our lives.  So, next Tuesday I have a room-mate.

My friend Ashley needs a place too so we are all going to live here together.  The only remaining booking is for October so we are going to vacate for that.

I achieve so much more when I am with other like-minded people. Whenever Anna is here I get important things done that would otherwise remain undone.  I can be mother hen, make breakfast, organize walks, sit down and write.  All I have to overcome is the obsessive urge to clean the house and keep order.  I have to let that go.

Because I know that he reads this I often think of him when I am writing.   It’s horrible.  Trying to keep the flame burning.  Fragile, timid beautiful Jake.  I want to remember him kindly.  I really do.  I don’t want to believe that he came into my life to take whatever he needed.

Manhunt?  I want to be on Manhunt because he was on Manhunt.  I want to meet men because he met men.  I want to in spite of my own healthy needs.

The Manhunt thing is interesting.  It has taken no time at all to be totally disinterested in that site.  It cannot serve me.  Why do I go there?   Real people can serve me.  Living in fantasy around what could be only leads to disaster… as we have witnessed these past few months.

I have been attending gay AA meetings, connecting with my sober comrades.  Trying not to be negative, understanding I still sit in a great deal of fear around gay men… I begin to relax.  There is a community of men and women at my disposal who are more than willing to open their arms to me.

I am, after all, a rather well-known gay man in recovery.  So I should lead by example.

Coming up to my sober birthday on October 1st.  Traditionally this has always been a time of great reflection.   A time to remember what I gave up to become the man I am now.  If I had continued along the path of least resistance… I may very well be dead.  I will write about that last day of using on October 1st.

Fly East tomorrow for a few days.  Have to take art to NYC.  I really dread being in the city just in case I bump into him.  I don’t know what I would do.  It’s like when I got sober… those first few months I could be around people drinking but I could not be around anyone taking drugs,  it was too triggering.   As I have said before, he is not real… he is a cypher.

As he shrinks away I attempt to own the possibilities.  I am left with so much!   I am left with all of this… the view, the hope, the love and of course the very human fight to survive.  The fight to live.  The fight to make art.  The fight to breath in the new day.

I may very well have thrown away this past year obsessing over him.  I pray that I learned something useful from knowing him.  Please don’t let it have been a total waste?

My Australian friend Andrew visited yesterday.  I met him in Sydney ten years ago.  What a delicious man he is.  I think you would all agree?

My AA sponsor told me in no uncertain terms that I was shirking from the very real health issue I have.  He told me that I have to get it seen to as soon as possible.


What a Waste

I always assume that anyone I meet is gay, the same way straight people assume (unless a flaming queen) every man they meet is straight.  Consequently most straight men I meet are perplexed at the sort of small talk I make with them.  Last week for instance someone mentioned that he was meeting his fiance and I said, “He’s a lucky guy to be marrying you.” This caused him to nearly drop his wine glass.  He spluttered nervously that he was straight.  “Oh!” I said as he dabbed at dribbled wine over his jacket.  “What a waste.”

Now, I am NOT the sort of man who thinks every man I meet is gay but I must always assume that he is until told otherwise.  It’s the only way these men are going to learn how to be inclusive.

Another funny example: two men having lunch with their small dog.  As they were leaving I asked them about their dog and mentioned how, in my opinion, a dog really improves a relationship…were they thinking about having children?  They looked increasingly horrified as they realised that I thought that they were a couple.  They said, “Oh, we’re not gay.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  We’re straight.”

The reaction always amuses me.  Men are still insulted by the insinuation that they might be gay.   Pathetic.

Update on Irene the mad woman from Hawaii.  Last night she informed me that she had called the Lost Hills Police Department reporting me as a terrorist.  I am assuming because my father was Persian?  Anyway, so far Homeland Security have not interviewed me about this and I imagine that they won’t be any time soon.

Why doesn’t she just go to small claims court?

Anyway, she is reporting me to the IRS, the California Governor etc. etc.  To Irene I am a regular Bernie Madoff.

The bottom line:  even if I wanted to benevolently return the money she says is owed to her she has caused such internet havoc and destruction I simply can’t.  I am not going to.  She thinks that her internet attacks on me are somehow going to force my hand.  What she simply cannot comprehend is the following fact about me:  I do not care about my ‘reputation’.  As I mentioned to her last night during one of her frenzied email bombardments the worst has already been said about me, nothing that she says is either new or bothers me.

Finally, last night, her gay friend sent me an odious email mocking my cancer scare.   All for $800?  They want me dead for $800?

Great morning at therapy today.  Wonderful.  I am in very good spirits.  mainly because I don’t have a blood sucking fame whore at my tit sucking the life out of me.  Oh, it’s 4pm on the east coast, he is probably already stoned, on web cam showing off his only asset.

The most annoying thing about Jake is that before meeting him that cold January afternoon in the East Village I had a meeting with agent David Vigliano who was really interested in working with me.  Jake called him Vig the pig.

I have a GREAT idea.  Irene you should call him, perhaps he’ll offer you and your friend a book deal.

Never assume men are straight until they tell you categorically that they are.

It just isn’t worth it.